Getting through a divorce is easier said than done. Apart from the legal process, which may drag on for weeks, there is a lot of mental stress to deal with. With tensions running high round-the-clock, you are likely to make a poor decision that may haunt you forever.
Given the financial and emotional implications of a divorce, you have to be extremely careful. As a leading St. Louis divorce lawyer, we often urge our clients to keep a few things in mind when a divorce is inevitable. While there are few things you must do, there are also things that you mustn’t do.
In this post, let’s talk about a few crucial things that you SHOULDN’T do when you file for divorce in St. Louis.
1. Go on a Shopping or Selling Spree
The court will most likely issue an order just before your divorce proceedings start, preventing you from making any sales or purchases of marital property or joint assets. However, as divorce attorneys, we have seen many cases where people try to drain joint bank accounts and credit cards, and sell marital assets simply out of spite.
You should avoid going on an unnecessary shopping or selling spree if you are contemplating a divorce. This reckless move can come back to bite you when the court proceedings begin. Also, spending your hard-earned money on things you don’t need is never a good idea. It may sow the seeds for an uncertain financial future after the divorce.
However, you can make necessary sales and purchases before filing for divorce. Make sure to consult your St. Louis divorce lawyer to understand what you can buy or sell. You can also talk to a certified divorce financial advisor or accountant to understand what sales or purchases are critical to ensure a better financial future for you and your kids.
2. Ignore Divorce Mediation in St. Louis
Divorce mediation is one of the best ways to get a divorce on mutually-agreeable terms and as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, most people mistake it for marriage counseling. However, this process is designed to help you divorce your spouse through an open and honest dialogue.
The process involves a mediator, an impartial or neutral individual facilitating dialogue between the divorcing parties. The mediator can be court-appointed. Although it is not mandatory to have legal counsel for mediation, you can hire a divorce mediation attorney to help you prepare for the process.
Communication plays a critical role in a divorce. So, ignoring this opportunity to talk things through and settle your divorce outside of court is never a good idea. Make sure to ask your St. Louis divorce lawyer about your divorce mediation options.
3. Take Your Finances for Granted
Financial planning is also a critical part of preparing for your divorce. If you ignore it, you will end up losing everything to your spouse. Poor financial planning can also impact the child custody outcome. No court likes to offer child custody to a parent with little or no financial stability.
You will need to start tracking your expenses, savings, investments, and income. Don’t consider just your monthly or recurring expenses. You also have to think about big-ticket one-time expenses like replacing the refrigerator or installing a new kitchen sink.
Gather all financial documents, including bank and credit card statements, insurance policies, mortgages, loans, shares, real estate, jewelry, and other investments. Although you can discuss this with a professional St. Louis divorce lawyer, it is better if you talk to a financial advisor or accountant as well. You also shouldn’t take any financial details that your spouse shares at face value. It is better to investigate every financial document thoroughly.
4. Not Consult a St. Louis Divorce Lawyer
You should consult a reliable and experienced St. Louis divorce lawyer as early as possible. Most people think that an amicable legal separation doesn’t require a lawyer. However, divorce attorneys can help you take care of all your legal proceedings, get a favorable settlement, and act as your support even when things look amicable.
Divorce attorneys have different levels of fee structure, experience, and work style. That’s why you will need to interview more than one St. Louis divorce lawyer. Most professional lawyers offer a free initial consultation, which you can use to find out more details.
During this consultation, you can ask about the lawyer’s retainer and hourly fees. Find out what services the lawyer will offer, how much they will cost, and when and how you can pay the lawyer. Remember, you should work with a lawyer who suits your style and budget, and has years of experience.
5. Putting Your Kids in the Middle
The last thing you want to do is use your kids as pawns in the divorce. It is perhaps the most confusing and frightening experience, especially for young children, as they may not understand the divorce process at all.
Don’t let the emotional turmoil of your divorce affect your ability to care for your children. Putting your children in the middle of your divorce will not only harm them, but the judge may not view it favorably either. As a parent, you should focus on the emotional and physical well-being of your kids.
Once you make the decision to divorce, you will need to put sincere efforts into preparing for your divorce. Your preparation can help not only you but everyone else involved in the process. The fewer mistakes you make during your divorce proceedings, the better your life will be in the long run. Hopefully, avoiding these five mistakes will help you better prepare for your divorce.
Our Experienced St. Louis Divorce Lawyer Team Is Here to Help You
If you are looking for a trusted and experienced St. Louis divorce lawyer, look no further than Jennifer Rench. She has years of experience in handling a wide range of divorce cases and mediations. Call (314) 725-4000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.